Sunday 25 February 2018

'The truth always wins' - Man who sued step-mother over €3.4m Lotto jackpot wins High Court case

David Walsh (left) and Mary Walsh (right)
David Walsh (left) and Mary Walsh (right) Newsdesk Newsdesk

The High Court has ruled in favour of a Co Galway man who had sued his step mother seeking a one sixth share of a €3.38m Lotto win.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys ruled that David Walsh was part of a syndicate and was a co-owner of a winning ticket and was entitled to approximately €560,000 share of the jackpot.

The judge said his step mother Mary Walsh had lied on oath.

Mr Walsh, who was one of six signatories on the back of the winning ticket, sued his step mother Mary Walsh, who was married to his late father Peter Walsh, claiming he was entitled to a one sixth share.

The Judge said evidence given by Mr Walsh's stepmother Mary Walsh during the seven day hearing was inconsistent, "not credible", contained "self contradiction" and was "unreliable".

Outside court following the ruling a clearly delighted Mr Walsh gave thumbs up with both hands as he left the building.

"The truth always wins," he said leaving court.

He claimed his late father had told him shortly after the win he would be looked after and would not have to worry about money again.

Mrs Walsh opposed the claim and argued that she was the sole owner of the winning ticket, which was bought in Ballinasloe on January 22nd 2011.

She had claimed that she, her late husband and four of their relatives had signed the back of the ticket to avoid paying gift tax.

The court heard Mrs Walsh's son Jason received €300,000, her son Tony £380,000 (about €456,000) while Kevin Black, a nephew of Peter Walsh received €100,000.

She also said David Walsh was offered the option of having €200,000 from the Lotto win or the former home that she and her late husband shared at Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe and opted for the house. Mr Walsh denied that.

The transfer of the property, which has been valued at €135,000, was completed in December 2011 when Peter Walsh died.

Following the conclusion of evidence on what was the seventh day of the hearing, Mr Justice Humphreys said he accepted evidence tendered by David Walsh as being credible.

This was in contrast to evidence tendered by his step mother which the judge said had given evidence that was "fundamentally inconsistent" and she "lied on oath".

While it had initially been denied by the defendant there was an acceptance during her evidence that David Walsh was a co owner of the ticket.

The Judge said he was satisfied from the evidence that after it was discovered that they had the winning ticket was an intention that three members of Mrs Walsh's family and three members of the late Mr Peter Walsh's family would benefit from the win.

The Judge also said that it had been admitted that the ticket was to be 50-50 between Mrs Walsh and the late Mr Walsh.

The Judge did not accept that Mrs Walsh was the sole owner of the winning ticket nor did the court accept Mrs Walsh's claim that her step son had been offered the house instead of €200.000.

Given the valuation of the house it did not make sense that David Walsh would do himself out of €65,000, the Judge said.  The judge also found that the transfer of the house had nothing to do with the lotto win.

The Judge also said he was satisfied from the evidence that Mrs Walsh had lied on a sworn statement to Revenue when extracting probate following her husband's death.

She had made a conscious decision to swear a false affidavit, where details including the number of children the late Peter Walsh had and details about joint assets were omitted, for the purpose of hiding assets from her step children.

The Judge said that he did not accept Mrs Walsh's explanation that the omissions were "made in error."

David Walsh (52), of Knocknagreena, Ballinasloe is among six signatures on the back of the winning ticket, sold in Ballinasloe and he claims he is entitled to a one sixth share.

His late father Peter Walsh, his cousin Kevin Black, Mrs Walsh, and her sons Anthony and Jason Daly, also signed the back of the ticket.

Ms Walsh (66), of Perssepark, Ballinasloe, was sued personally and as personal representative of Peter Walsh’s estate, denied David Walsh was part of a syndicate that won the €3.38m prize or that she holds €560,000 in trust for him.

A stay on the Judge's order was placed, on terms including she lodge €929,000 to cover estimated legal costs and the award in court, pending an appeal.

The Judge also made a temporary freezing order preventing her from reducing below that sum. Liberty to vary that order was also granted by the Judge.

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